Kwale based Australian mining firm Base Titanium has scaled up rehabilitation and ecological restoration of areas disturbed by mining activities to a condition that is safe, stable and non-polluting.
The mining firm located in Msambweni sub county of Kwale, simply known as Base produces ilmenite, rutile and zircon which are all considered critical minerals.
Base Titanium General Manager (GM), External Affairs Simon Wall says safe, stable and sustainable mine rehabilitation underpins confidence in the mining sector.
Wall says sustainable conservation, rehabilitation and ecological restoration programs are now focused on the mined-out areas of the South Dunes and Central Dunes.
He says the post mining land use seeks to create long term, sustainable environmental and social outcomes after mine closure.
The External Affairs GM says they are preserving the environment through responsible mining adding that the mining company is committed to operating in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.
Base has been recognised for its Social Impact "CSR 100 Awards” as category winners in Environmental Conservation Initiatives 2022.
“This award highlights Base’s commitment to minimizing environmental impact and sustaining environmentally responsible behaviour in our operation, and in our communities,” he said, adding that 190,540 plants have been grown in the indigenous plant and tree nurseries.
“Research-led rehabilitation methods of both south and central mine dunes at our Kwale operations are progressing well,” said Wall adding that more than 600 acres will soon be available for agricultural activities for post mining land use.
Wall said so far Base Titanium has been able to rehabilitate more than 200 hectares of mined land involving filling the mines pits and covering the land with native grass and tree species.
The senior mining official spoke at Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa during the inaugural launch of sustainability report attended by stakeholders led by area Deputy Governor (DG) Chirema Kombo and Msambweni sub county Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Kipkech Lotiatia.
The report provides an overview of Base’s successes and challenges and also highlights sustainability activities and performance of the Kwale operations against set goals.
“We have actively been trialing different land preparation techniques, bank stabilization methods, green manures for soil improvement and a variety of pioneer plant species in preparation for rehabilitation works to ensure high quality outcomes,” said Wall.
He stated that agricultural tests with locally available crops have been conducted to demonstrate that the land can support desired post mining land use.
“Good results have been observed in trials of various food, cash crops and fruit trees and that the tests continue to offer valuable insights into the potential of mined soil and inform our post mining land use project,” he said.
“We seek to demonstrate excellence in the full life cycle of mining by leaving the environment richer for our presence and posterity and creating sustainable sources of livelihood for a community that lasts beyond the life of the mine’.
Wall says the Kwale operations has significant infrastructure that can be harnessed for post mining land use such as the 8.6 gigalitres Mukurumudzi dam (a gigalitre is one billion litres) litres, the 8 km paved access road, the 16 km long power transmission line, the training facility workshops, offices and the indigenous plant and tree nurseries.
The DG Kombo said Base has invested heavily in the mining sector creating over 1,000 jobs and positive socio-economic outcomes for the local communities.
He cited Kwale Cotton Project (supported by Base) where in September 2022 farmers under the project have harvested over 11,000 kgs of cotton setting pace for the revival of the cotton industry in the coastal county.
Kwale operations is the country’s largest mine and is recognized as a flagship project under the Kenya n Vision 2030 national development blueprint.
The operations that commenced operation in 2013 features assemblage rich in rutile, ilmenite and zircon and currently accounts for approximately 65 percent of Kenya’s mineral output by value.